One for the road.Byline: Susan Palmer The Register-Guard
In the historic photos, Dwight Huss looks wild-eyed, and who could blame him. It was June 1905, and Huss had just finished a grueling 4,000-mile journey from New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of to Portland to win the first transcontinental automobile race.
When he pulled into Portland in his 1904 Oldsmobile Runabout with mechanic Milford Wigle at his side, the miles of rough road, the rainstorms, the breakdowns and the near disasters of the trip were reflected in his eyes. It had taken 44 days to cross the continent on roads that were little more than wagon trails.
"Those 44 days must have taken 44 months off their lives. Huss just looks deranged de·range
tr.v. de·ranged, de·rang·ing, de·rang·es
1. To disturb the order or arrangement of.
2. To upset the normal condition or functioning of.
3. To disturb mentally; make insane. ," said Tony Farque, district archaeologist for the Willamette National Forest The Willamette National Forest is a National Forest located in the central portion of the Cascade Range of Oregon, US. It contains 1,675,407 acres (2,618 mi², 6,780 km²) making it one of the largest national forests. .
The dubious honor for the absolute worst stretch of the trip goes to the Santiam Wagon Road The Santiam Wagon Road was a freight route in the U.S. state of Oregon between the Willamette Valley and Central Oregon regions from 1865 to the 1930s. It is considered one of the most important historical routes in the state. that Huss and his lone competitor, Percy Megargel with mechanic Barton Stanchfield, used to cross the Cascades.
The Willamette National Forest has restored portions of the old road, which once connected Albany with Prineville, and the agency is honoring the centennial of the car race with a four-day hike culminating in a ceremony on Friday that will include vintage cars like the ones Huss and Megargel drove.
Both men agreed that Sevenmile Hill - in the Tombstone Tombstone, city (1990 pop. 1,220), Cochise co., SE Ariz.; inc. 1881. With its pleasant climate and legendary past, Tombstone is a well-known tourist attraction. The city became a national historic landmark in 1962. Pass area south of what is now Highway 20 - was almost the death of them.
Farque, along with other experts including a botanist, a geologist and an American Indian American Indian
or Native American or Amerindian or indigenous American
Any member of the various aboriginal peoples of the Western Hemisphere, with the exception of the Eskimos (Inuit) and the Aleuts. will lead hikers along about 19 miles of the old road. Part of the fun will be trying to figure out where Huss almost went over the side of the steep track, and where in later years a Eugene mayor scouting places to divert water from Clear Lake for the city flipped his car.
The Runabouts were not your father's Oldsmobile, nor even your grandfather's. They steered with a tiller, not a wheel, and had no windshield or fenders. Whatever got on the car - mud, sand, gravel - got on the drivers. The friction brake (Mach.) a form of dynamometer for measuring the power a motor exerts. A clamp around the revolving shaft or fly wheel of the motor resists the motion by its friction, the work thus absorbed being ascertained by observing the force required to keep the clamp from revolving with the was a lever manhandled into place and held there by sheer muscular force.
"They white-knuckled it down Sevenmile Hill," Farque said. The road was so steep, Huss's mechanic had to tie a log to the back bumper to slow the car down.
Hikers marvel at it now, Farque said.
"It's in beautiful condition, but there's no way you could ever get a car up or down it," he said.
But what was bad for early travelers has an up side for today's visitors. Stretches of the road still exist. While most of the beds of early trails have been covered by modern highways, this portion of the old road was so bad that engineers chose a different route for Highway 20, the road that replaced the Santiam Wagon Road.
"They had to move way off site, it was way too steep," Farque said.
In its heyday, the Santiam Wagon Road was a bustling corridor of nascent commerce. Ranchers drove cattle east on the road to high desert grasslands and markets. Shepherds in Eastern Oregon Eastern Oregon is a geographical term that is generally taken to mean the area of the state of Oregon east of the Cascade Range, save the region around The Dalles and sometimes Klamath County. The area around Bend is considered to be Central Oregon rather than Eastern Oregon. brought the wool west to the valley's mills.
A stagecoach stagecoach, heavy, closed vehicle on wheels, usually drawn by horses, formerly used to transport passengers and goods overland. Throughout the Middle Ages and until about the end of the 18th cent. ferried people from Prineville to Albany, a journey that took 3 1/2 days, Farque said. There were roadhouses along the way. Among the most popular stop-off points was a hotel at Fish Lake, a snow-melt lake that transforms into a meadow each summer. There, travelers stayed at a hotel, where a room cost 25 cents a night, as did meals.
Road travel wasn't free. Entrepreneurs with government permission had constructed the road, and they charged a toll - $3.50 for a buggy Refers to software that contains many flaws. Many in the software industry swear that bugs are inevitable, and perhaps they are right. As long as we work in the competitive, pressure-cooker environment of our high-tech world, products will more often than not be developed too hastily and with a team of four horses down to 10 cents per head to move cattle and 3 cents per head to move hogs along the road.
The road was supposed to go all the way to Ontario, and was envisioned as a good way to move cattle and other supplies to the gold mines in Idaho. But that part of the dream never materialized, Farque said.
The road petered out at Prineville, he said. "There were lots of complaints by potential users once it got out east of Prineville, that it was not there. ... There was a huge congressional investigation, but no fraud was ever proven," he said.
The road continued to be used well into the 1920s. As late as 1922, cowboys rounded up wild horses Wild Horses may refer to:
But by 1939, there were safer routes across the mountains and the road fell into disuse dis·use
The state of not being used or of being no longer in use.
the state of being neglected or no longer used; neglect
Noun 1. .
In 1993, the Forest Service and volunteers restored 19 miles of it, with several access points along Highway 20 east of Sweet Home.
Bits of history still linger, with old bridges and historic markers indicating load limits, directions to water, even mile posts. Sometimes, visitors find old car parts. Once a hiker came back with an old whiskey whiskey [from the Gaelic for "water of life"], spirituous liquor distilled from a fermented mash of grains, usually rye, barley, oats, wheat, or corn. Inferior whiskeys are made from potatoes, beets, and other roots. bottle.
The road traverses diverse geology, from lava to sand to forest duff beneath old growth Douglas fir Douglas fir: see pine.
Any of about six species of coniferous evergreen timber trees (see conifer) that make up the genus Pseudotsuga, in the pine family, native to western North America and eastern Asia. and cedar. Along that stretch of the trail, hikers will see where American Indians American Indians: see Americas, antiquity and prehistory of the; Natives, Middle American; Natives, North American; Natives, South American. peeled the bark from cedar trees to make baskets in the 1880s.
The hike begins Tuesday, but on Friday, The Willamette National Forest will offer a special celebration at the Fish Lake Guard Station.
While Huss' Olds won't be there, vintage car clubs will have similar Runabouts on hand. For those lucky enough to own such vehicles, a portion of the old road still can be driven. Rangers allow those with pre-1940s vehicles to drive the stretch from Fish Lake to Tombstone as long as they have a permit from the Sweet Home Ranger District office.
One hundred years ago, Huss beat out his only competition and won a $1,000 prize. Megargel arrived seven days later to some good-natured ribbing from Oregonians, Farque said.
"They asked him, 'Percy, what's it like being second in a two-man race?' '
His answer: "It's great to be young, crazy and ride around in an automobile."
CELEBRATING A GREAT RACE
Four-day hike: Heritage expedition costs $425. For more information, call (541) 367-9206 or visit www.fs.fed.us/r6/willamette/newsandevents/events/sweethome/swr2005.html.
Friday celebration: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Fish Lake Guard Station on Highway 126, 1/4 mile from the junction with Highway 20. Activities include living history presentations, tours of Fish Lake's historic buildings, and a barbecue lunch (for a fee). Public parking at Santiam Junction, four miles east of Fish Lake, with shuttle bus service every 15 minutes starting at 10:45 a.m. For more information, call Joanne West at (541) 367-9206.
In 1905, Dwight Huss (left) with mechanic Milford Wigle won the nation's first transcontinental auto race. They began in New York City New York City: see New York, city.
New York City
City (pop., 2000: 8,008,278), southeastern New York, at the mouth of the Hudson River. The largest city in the U.S. , traversed the Santiam Wagon Road and ended in Portland at the Lewis and Clark Exposition 44 days later. Paul Carter Paul Carter is the name of: